Legion of Ash
The Legion of Ash, once a mercenary army working on Imperial contract in the Dry Hills, now serves as the standing army of New Haven under direct oversight from Provost’s Office and the Merchant’s Guild. The group has the distinction of playing a pivotal role in the conflict during the Siege of Kittering, launching attacks on two seperate occassions which succeeded in flanking and decimating the forces of the Kingdom of Shadows (in concert with a Cuthbertite detachment from the Order of the White Rose, though suffering considerable loses of its own. The Legionnaires are known for their swift striking capabilities, marrying speed and overwhelming force with light cavalry and infantray tactics.
Also called the Ashen Legion or Greycloaks, derives its name from its practice of initiating members into its ranks by rubbing a paste of ash across the initiate’s cheeks and brow. The ash, made from the cremated remains of Ashen Legionnaires who died in battle, symbolically links the recruit into the prestigious ancestry of the legion and foreshadows the recruit’s final act of service to the legion. The recruit then undergoes additional years of field training within the Legion of Ash and learns the secret signs and encryption codes that lend the legion part of its mystique as a cultic order of soldiers. Thus, legionnaires can identify one another among a crowd of strangers (presumably through body language and hand signals), ferret out imposters in their ranks and send encrypted field orders between officers.
Dame Greta Botar has run the Ashen Legion for the past five years, since her husband’s death. Many observers consider Dame Botar the least popular leader of the legion in known history, although no Ashen Legionnaire would publicly express anything but sentiments of loyalty and endorsement. Dame Botar assumed leadership of the legion, instead of the more popular General Pharadyn, who many viewed as General Botar’s heir-apparent. Further, Dame Botar has accepted more half-breed goblinoids into the legion and, more importantly, has compelled the Cuthbertite and Eidonite factions to accept more half-breed orcs into their programs as potential future recruits into the legion. Finally, Dame Botar has continued her husband’s legacy of accepting very select contracts for Legion work from certain local Primogen – work some legionnaire’s find morally distasteful. Nonetheless, Dame Botar is a skilled politician and tough negotiator who has filled the legion’s coffers if at the expense of its morale. Some speculate that she and Pharadyn engineered her somewhat unpopular but necessary changes to ensuring so that when leadership transfers to Pharadyn, he will be hailed a hero and inherit a fiscally healthy command while Dame Botar fades into early retirement.
One fact remains undisputed: the legion’s black tabards and gray cloaks and ashen faces (Ashen Legionnaires streak their faces with the ash of the cremated before historic or desperate battles) demoralize all but their most veteran foes. Few have seen the grey cloaks flying in the wind behind their mounts, the lance points gleaming in the sunshine, and lived to tell the tale.